Seven years ago, a few days after the special convention where I was elected your next bishop, I called my old friend and mentor Linda Grenz to talk about what had happened and what might come next. We talked about many things in that conversation, and by the end of it I had convinced her to think about being my Canon to the Ordinary. Because of Bishop Wolf’s graciousness during the transition, Linda and I began our work in Rhode Island on the same day, and she was commissioned as Canon to the Ordinary at our first convention together.
Much of what has been accomplished around the diocese in the past seven years has been because of Canon Grenz’s work, her creativity and her passion for the Gospel. I have known for years that she had incredible gifts for ministry, gifts that I first recognized many years ago when I was a physics graduate student singing in the church choir where she was one of the priests. Having now worked beside her for this extended time, I know what many of you know — that she’s easily one of the most capable priests I have ever known, and that we have all been blessed by her ministry here. The Cathedral of St. John would not be poised for its new future without her work. The renewed emphasis on congregational ministry and development would not be where it is without her efforts. The camp, the diocesan offices, the Episcopal Housing Foundation and so much more have been changed for the better because of her work.
But it is time for the next chapter in her life and in our life as a diocese. Canon Grenz informed me earlier this month that she intends to retire from active ministry this summer. She and her husband, Del Glover, will be moving back to Washington, D.C,. to be with their family and to begin the next part of their story.
Linda tells congregations as they begin the process of transition between clergy calls that leaving a position well sets up the next clergy for a renewed and successful shared ministry. I expect Canon Grenz will model that for all of us during the next few months. There is important work to do as we begin to plan how we will continue the work she has helped us to do. And there needs to be time and intention to say thank you and to mark the significant impact she has made on the lives of many people, congregations and institutions across the state. (As has her beloved husband, Del.)
I ask your prayers both of thanksgiving and for discernment as we make our way through this process. The Diocese of Rhode Island is better because of her work among us, as she has built on the efforts of the people who have come before us and as the next generation will build on what we together have accomplished.
Thank you, Linda.